Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Editor's Corner

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Editor's Corner

Article excerpt

September 2014, Notes From the Field Editor

Science Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century

These are exciting times for science teachers. New technologies--social media and cloud computing, mobile smart devices, probeware and sensors, "big data," advanced computational modeling, and countless others--could revolutionize science teaching and learning.

This issue describes teaching with a sample of these technologies, including using LEDs and optogenetics for teaching about recombinant DNA and neuroscience, computer probeware to measure fuel produced from cellulosic biomass, mobile device apps for field work, and computer flash drives and YouTube videos to model viral replication and dispersal. Not one of these investigations would have been possible a mere decade ago.

While modern technologies and scientific advances make new classroom activities possible, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States 2013) require us to rethink how we deliver science instruction, calling for an integration of disciplinary core ideas (science content) with scientific and engineering practices (doing science) and crosscutting concepts (overarching interdisciplinary themes). The pedagogical foundation provided by the NGSS can combine with new technology to create more engaging learning experiences for all students.

The National Research Council (2010), Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2011), and National Science Teachers Association (2011) all have identified essential 21st-century knowledge and skills. Even The Governor's Academy, where I teach, has embraced--after 251 years of existence--the new century (2013). These lists of essential 21st-century student outcomes are remarkably similar to and completely consistent with the spirit of the NGSS. …

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